The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Election Commission on a petition moved by the Congress candidate from Gondal in Rajkot district alleging that residents in the Assembly constituency were “not ready to work as polling agents out of fear of BJP candidate’s husband Jayrajsinh Jadeja”.
In his petition, Arjun Khatariya had sought court’s permission to allow him to appoint polling agents from different polling stations as the EC guidelines state that polling agents of a candidate has to be a resident of the same polling station. “The fear (of Jadeja) is so much that the villagers or residents of the polling booth do not even wish to declare their names showing support for the petitioner, leave alone acting as polling agents… Because of the fear of Jayrajsinh Jadeja, no person is ready to act as a polling agent of the petitioner…,” Khatariya’s petition stated.
The Division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice A Y Kogje, however, refused to entertain Khatariya’s apprehension that “there will be booth capturing allegedly by Jadeja”.
Jadeja, who had won from Gondal in 2012 Assembly polls by nearly 20,000 votes, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in August this year by the High Court. The Supreme Court granted him bail on the condition that he would not enter Gujarat. However, on December 1, the Gujarat High Court granted Jadeja 10 days — December 6 to December 16 — relief to enter the state to campaign for his wife, Gitaba, who has been fielded by the BJP from his constituency.